Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET)

Definition - What does Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET) mean?

Elective single embryo transfer (eSET) is the selection and transfer of a single embryo from a number of available embryos during an IVF Cycle. Because a single embryo is transferred, eSET reduces the risk of multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.) associated with a traditional IVF cycle.

FertilitySmarts explains Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET)

To perform an eSET and choose the best-quality embryo, the clinics grade all embryos based on the number and size of their cells, the speed of growth, the stage at which the embryo is tested, and the genetic makeup of the embryo.

Tests like preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) are used to screen for any genetic abnormality so that the single best embryo with the best chance of implanting and progressing to a live birth can be selected and transferred. However, even PGS doesn’t guarantee a live birth. The single embryo can be a frozen (cryopreserved) embryo elected from an earlier IVF cycle or it can be a fresh embryo chosen from the present cycle.

The ideal candidates for eSET are typically women:

  • under the age of 35 years
  • undergoing their first IVF cycle
  • who have had success in a prior IVF cycle
  • who have a good number of high-quality eggs and embryos
  • who have embryos available for freezing

Even if not successful, eSET often allows for freezing of the extra embryos and transferring them in later cycles. This boosts the odds of a successful pregnancy in the future cycle without incurring the risks of high order multiple births.


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